b-blog

Be Prepared

Does the thought of evangelism scare you?

Sometimes we make the process bigger and more intimidating than it needs to be. The story of Philip and the Ethiopian (Acts 8) shows us a simple three-step process.

1) Listen to the Spirit

Philip was told by the Spirit to approach the Ethiopian. Obviously the Holy Spirit knows the state of each person’s heart and whether they’re ready and willing to receive Christ. A lot of “failures” in evangelism probably happen when we act in our own power (with our hearts in the right place!). Pray for God to send you those promptings and listen to those you receive.

2) Meet them where they are

When Philip approached the Ethiopian, he didn’t launch into the full Plan of Salvation. First he listened. He asked questions. He figured out where this man was coming from.

3) Be prepared

Philip knew the Scriptures well enough to share the gospel message. This comes over time with the daily discipline of reading the Bible. Don’t let a lack of knowledge stop you—remember, the early church grew through the preaching of uneducated brand-new believers—but do meet daily with the Lord. His Word prepares you for any situation.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” 1 Peter 3:15.

Blue Skies Tomorrow Kindle Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of Blue Skies Tomorrow, the final installment of the Wings of Glory series, I’m teaming up with Litfuse Publicity to give one winner A Vintage Kindle Prize Package! 

The blog tour starts today! Read what the reviewers are saying here.

One winner will receive:

* Kindle with Wi-Fi

* Handmade vintage apron for you and a friend (see photo)

* Blue Skies Tomorrow (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/10. Winner will be announced on 9/12 at Sarah Sundin’s blog. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Launch Party for Blue Skies Tomorrow!

You’re invited to a launch party for my third novel, Blue Skies Tomorrow, on Sunday, August 28, 2011 at El Campanil Theatre in Antioch, California.

This gorgeous theater is pictured on the cover of Blue Skies Tomorrow and figures into several story scenes. The party is in conjunction with a showing of the 1946 classic movie, The Best Years of Our Lives, a touching portrayal of the post-war adjustment of three World War II veterans, including a B-17 bombardier.

The doors open at 1 pm, and the movie starts at 2 pm. Meet me in the lobby before or after the movie. I will be signing books, giving away some fun things (books, Big Band CDs, and vintage aprons!) – plus there will be free popcorn!
To find out how to get a free ticket for the event, please send an email to Sarah’s email, letting me know how many guests to expect.

For more info, please visit El Campanil’s website. While you’re there, check out the photos from the amazing restoration process.

I hope to see you there!

Happy V-J Day!

Sixty-six years ago, on August 14, 1945, World War II came to an end when Emperor Hirohito of Japan signed his acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration demanding unconditional surrender to the Allies. The surrender was announced in the United States at 7pm Eastern War Savings Time.

The following day, August 15, was officially proclaimed V-J Day (Victory in Japan), a day of celebration and thanksgiving.

Almost six years had passed since Germany had invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, beginning the most costly war the world had ever seen. Europe and Japan lay in ruins. Tens of millions of people had lost their lives in combat, bombings, and extermination camps. Very few families were unaffected by the war, even in the US, where only a small amount of bombs landed from a handful of shellings by Japanese submarines.

It’s hard for us to imagine the extreme jubilation that erupted sixty-six years ago today.

Take a moment today and imagine. Imagine the jubilation, the sense of relief that the horror was over, that you would survive, that those around you would survive, that you could go on with your life and pursue your dreams.

Take a moment today and give thanks. Thank the veterans, and nurses, and home front workers who made that victory possible. Thank the members of our armed forces today who continue to keep us safe. And thank the Lord for strengthening us and watching over us.

Take a moment today and celebrate!

Book Beat – The Dawn of a Dream

Betrayed, humiliated, and abandoned, Luellen O’Connell reaches for all she has left – a forgotten dream.

In The Dawn of a Dream, Ann Shorey takes the familiar story of a young frontier woman who wants to become a teacher and gives it a twist. Several twists actually. As Luellen fights to earn her teaching certificate from one of the few schools that admits women, she meets challenge after challenge. A gentle romance with her brother’s friend further challenges her dream.

Luellen faces challenges familiar to modern women. Her dream clashes with the needs of her family. Her romance clashes with her dream. Her good sense clashes with her feelings for the wrong man.

The Dawn of a Dream is a touching story with an intriguing heroine and interesting plot twists. Nothing is easy for Luellen, but she forges ahead. This is the final book in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, but it stands alone. This was my favorite book in the series, and I highly recommend it.

World War II War Bonds

Wars are expensive. The Second World War cost the United States $300 billion dollars, with the federal budget rising from $9 billion in 1939 to $98 billion in 1945. How was the nation to pay for that?

Taxes were increased with an additional 5 percent Victory Tax. To assure payment, on June 10, 1943 the government approved the first automatic deduction of taxes from paychecks. But more was needed, and the government turned to bonds, which had been effective in World War I. War bonds were sold at 75 percent of face value (a $25 bond sold for $18.75) and matured over ten years. While the rate of return was below market value, bonds were a stable investment with the bonus of aiding the war effort. Channeling cash into bond purchases helped prevent inflation in the robust wartime economy as well.

How Purchased

Defense Bonds first went on the market on May 1, 1941, and they were renamed War Bonds after the US entered the war in December 1941. Bonds were available in denominations of $25 through $1000, designed to be affordable for everyone. People could also purchase stamps for 10 cents, which were placed in special albums. When full, the albums were redeemed for a bond. War stamps were especially popular with children.

Employers set up automatic payroll deduction systems, in which employees could set aside a certain amount for War Bonds with each purchase. A robust advertising campaign, rallies and other promotions, and a series of War Loan Drives brought in even more needed money.

Advertising

As part of the war effort, many newspapers, magazines, and radio stations donated advertising space and time. Posters sprang up in store fronts. Even comic books got in the act as superheroes promoted bond sales. Popular songs alos encourage sales, such as Bing Crosby’s recording of “The Road to Victory” for the Sixth War Loan Drive.

Promotions

Bond rallies were extremely popular, featuring Hollywood stars and popular musicians. Celebrities also conducted auctions – a kiss from Hedy Lamarr, Betty Grable’s stockings, Jack Benny’s violin, and the horseshoes of Triple Crown winner Man O’ War. Movie theaters and baseball stadiums sometimes offered free admission with the purchase of a War Bond.

War Loan Drives

Eight War Loan Drives were conducted from 1942 to 1945. Each was meant to raise an additional $9-$15 billion in sales. Towns received quotas, with the aim of promoting competition between towns. Volunteers went door-to-door, pleading for sales, and rewarding purchasers with stickers to display on their window or door. The drives were conducted on the following dates:

  • First War Loan Drive: Nov. 30 to Dec. 23, 1942
  • Second War Loan Drive: Apr. 12 to May 1, 1943
  • Third War Loan Drive: Sep. 9 to Oct. 1, 1943
  • Fourth War Loan Drive: Jan. 18 to Feb. 15, 1944
  • Fifth War Loan Drive: June 12 to July 8, 1944
  • Sixth War Loan Drive: Nov. 20 to Dec. 16, 1944
  • Seventh War Loan Drive: May 14 to June 30, 1945
  • Victory Loan Drive: Oct. 29 to Dec. 8, 1945
By the end of the war, 85 million Americans had purchased $185.7 billion dollars of bonds – over $2000 per person, when the average income was $2000 per year.
The patriotism and personal sacrifice of the average citizen played a significant part in the Allied war effort.

Book and Apron Giveaway Winners!

Thank you, everyone, for helping me celebrate the release of my third novel, Blue Skies Tomorrow!

The winner of a copy of Blue Skies Tomorrow is Meg Sweatman! Meg, I sent you a message on Facebook.

The winner of the vintage apron is Jammy! Jammy, I’ll send you an email.

Thanks again, everyone!

Blue Skies Tomorrow – Book and Apron Giveaway!

Blue Skies Tomorrow officially released this week! To celebrate, I’m holding a drawing for a copy of my novel and for a gorgeous apron sewn by my friend Marci Seither – the apron is made from vintage fabric with a vintage pattern and has the book cover printed on the pocket! Here’s a picture of me wearing one of the aprons. Only you’ll look cuter.

In Blue Skies Tomorrow, Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

To enter the drawing, please leave a comment and say whether you’d like to be entered for the book, the apron, or both. PLEASE include your email in the comment in this format – sarah [at] sarahsundin [dot] com. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited by law, side effects may include sudden death, etc.

If you entered earlier this week, you don’t have to enter again. I’ll conduct the drawing late tonight and post the winner tomorrow, Friday, August 5.

Blue Skies Tomorrow – Release Day Giveaway!

Blue Skies Tomorrow officially releases today! To celebrate, I’m holding a drawing for a copy of my novel and for a gorgeous apron sewn by my friend Marci Seither – the apron is made from vintage fabric with a vintage pattern and has the book cover printed on the pocket! Here’s a picture of the apron Marci made for A Distant Melody – shown with my writing buddy, Julie Elder.

Blue Skies Tomorrow is the third book in the Wings of Glory series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II. Each book stands alone.

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Reviews!

The reviews are starting to come in…I’m so thankful they’re good!

RT Book Reviews gave it 4 1/2 Stars (the highest rating) and said, “With strong historical detail and superb characters, this may be the best yet. A great read for those who love romance, WWII-era settings or just satisfying stories.”

Booklist said, “In her third WWII-set Christian romance, Sundin skillfully addresses several difficult issues-domestic abuse, the overtly racist policies of the U.S. military, and the temptations of worldly ambition and vengeance-and invests her protagonists with the resilience of hope born out of faith.”

To enter the drawing, please leave a comment and say whether you’d like to be entered for the book, the apron, or both. PLEASE include your email in the comment in this format – sarah [at] sarahsundin [dot] com. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited by law, side effects may include sudden death, etc.

I’ll conduct the drawing and post the winner on Friday, August 5.

Got Barriers?

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” Matt. 19:14.

We agree with those words. We go out of our way to make church an inviting and welcoming place, with smiling greeters and warm décor. But are there barriers we may not even be aware of?

Culture

Each church has its own culture—how you dress, whether or not you applaud after music, whether you text during service, what you do with crying babies. These unwritten rules may not be known by visitors—but can earn withering looks when broken.

Language

We love our church language. We “fellowship” in the “sanctuary,” “worship” to the music, do our “quiet times” and “devotions,” and “activate the prayer chain.” We also talk about glory, righteousness, salvation, grace, and sin—concepts that might be foreign to the newcomer.

Cliques

One of the joys of the church family is the close relationships. After a long week, it’s refreshing to chat with people who love you. We sit with our friends, chat with our friends, and go out with our friends. But do we welcome visitors—or leave that to the ushers?

Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple for disrespecting God’s house and for impeding worship. We don’t want to be guilty of the same sin.

Church culture will remain—but let’s show grace to the rule-breakers. Church language should be embraced for the wealth of meaning—but let’s be careful to define our terms. Church family should be nurtured—but let’s open our eyes, watch for those outside our circle, and make an effort to include them.

What can you do to break down the barriers?